The Scarlet Trilogy by A.C. Gaughen
I have a bit of a confession to make: I owned Scarlet for over a year before I pulled it off my bookshelf and set to reading it. And I bought Lady Thief before I ever read Scarlet because I was a sucker for the idea behind the story and the breathtaking covers.
But I still didn’t read them.
I know, I know – I’m an idiot.
I had met the fabulous A.C. Gaughen a few times and we got along well, plus we were set to be on a Girl Power Panel together and, quite honestly, the book kept tempting me to read it – not an easy feat, considering I have a TON of books in my office.
Scarlet whispered over the demands of The Coldest Girl in Cold Town, The Raven Boys, Afterworlds, The Winner’s Curse, The Red Queen, and Heir of Fire.
Yeah . . . that didn’t pan out. BIGGEST FREAKIN’ MISTAKE EVER.
Scarlet, Lady Thief, and yes, Lion Heart, quickly jumped to the top of my all time favorite book lists, and if you know one thing about me, I’m picky. Really, I’m a total story snob. I demand that a great novel will take over my life and wash away reality. It will scream to be read, anywhere and at anytime, stealing my sleep and starving my body.
That was A.C. Gaughen’s trilogy for me.
I read Scarlet in one day, Lady Thief in an afternoon, and Lion Heart kept me company through midnight until dawn broke. I was invested in the characters, their plight, and the world itself.
I could feel the ash that cloaked Major Oak, the grand tree that held the heart of rebellion for Robin’s gang, and the biting cold of Scarlet’s soaked feet as she was forced into the castle alongside a brutal Gisbourne.
A.C. Gaughen paints an intense, unyielding world of vicious power and violence set against the backdrop of sweeping forests and grime-covered cobblestone. I loved how Gaughen didn’t cut her characters any slack, forcing them into the crossfire and challenging their very souls by running through their agony and joy with the razor sharpness of a story built on both history and legend. Do not be lured by the beautiful covers into thinking this is some soft, romantic notion of Robin Hood. This series is a dark, brutal, spectacular retelling of the legend, with Will Scarlet as a fearless but damaged female rebel, known as Scar.
The Scarlet trilogy is what great storytelling is about – vivid worlds that become their own characters, heroes and villains that demand both respect and hatred in equal measure, and a storyline that haunts the mind far beyond the final page.
A brilliant grab for teens, both male and female, and the ultimate historical novel for reluctant readers, I highly, HIGHLY recommend the entire series for both home and school.
English teachers take heed: bring Scarlet into the classroom and watch your students become obsessed with a world of outlaws, corrupted crowns, and the glory of an England entrenched in treason. A spectacular find for the Common Core thanks to all the historical facets that can be unearthed in this rich, fabulous series.
I’m heartbroken it is over, though I will no doubt read the entire series again.